Victorian Traditional Owner Settlement Bill 2010

The Traditional Owner Settlement Bill 2010 (Vic) creates certainty for developers, land and water proponents and the State. The state legislative regimes further weaken native title and cultural heritage rights and interests through the surrendering and withdrawal of native title rights and in the destruction and salvage of cultural heritage.

Gary Murray 14 September 2010

1. Background

The Traditional Owner Settlement Bill 2010 (Vic) aka TOSB arises from the Dodson Report endorsed by about 13 members of the VTOLJG in February 2009 and State Cabinet in May 2009. The TOS Bill was not endorsed by the VTOLJG full group meeting at their last meeting on 31 July 2001. The TOS Bill will be debated and possibly enacted in the Upper House on Tuesday 14 September 2010.

The Bill aims to remove Federal Court native title claims and surrender or extinguish native title rights and interests forever through a state government regime.

The Traditional Owner Settlement Bill 2010 (Vic) as did the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (Vic) creates certainty for developers, land and water proponents and the State. Both state legislative regimes weaken our native title and cultural heritage rights and interests through the surrendering and withdrawal of native title rights and in the destruction and salvage of cultural heritage.

2. Aboriginal Title Areas and Consent Determination Areas

What is TOSB Aboriginal Title and what benefits does this new title bring economically and culturally to Traditional Owners?
Will NTA Consent Determination areas equate to TOS Bill Aboriginal Title areas, if not why not?

3. Transfer of Freehold Lands

What land and water has been identified that will lead to major economic development? Will the State transfer freehold lands located on waterways to Traditional Owners for commercial residential development in population growth corridors?

4. Victorian Traditional Owner Trust

What is the Victorian Traditional Owner Trust and who will be the Trustees? Who appoints the Trustees? What powers do the Trustees have to override Traditional Owner Group decisions?

How is the funding for the Victorian Traditional Owner Trust fund calculated in Agreements?

Why the 20 year term for a funding and not more?

Why are the funds not guaranteed in perpetuity?

Are funds contributed by the State and/or Commonwealth annually to the Trust or in a lump sum arrangement? Will these funds be reviewed periodically?

5. Authority and Benefits to Clans

What rights and powers do Descendant Clans of the Apical Ancestors in a Traditional Owner Group outside of the current structure have to decision-making and the trust funds?

If certain Clans do not sign off under the current Draft Agreement have these Clans got a right to negotiate independent of the mainstream group?

6. The Jurisdiction for Agreements

Why are all Agreements subject to the law of Victoria when there may also be consent determination outcomes that arise from the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993?

Should all Agreements be signed off pursuant to ORIC rules and use of the seal?

7. Binding Future Generations

How can we bind all Future Generations to a current Agreement that may be irrelevant to them in the future?

8. Economic Value of Past Acts

What is the economic value of Past Acts and what is the value of validating those Acts?

Is this economic value factored into the funding agreement through the Trust?

9. Economic Value of Surrendering Native Title Rights

What is the economic value of surrendering native title rights and interests? Is this economic value factored into the funding agreement through the Trust?

10. Traditional Owner Management Boards (TOLMB)

What are the criteria and conditions set down by the Victorian Minister for DSE to select members of the Traditional Owner Land Management Board? What are the termination rules for removing TOLM Board members?

11. Dealing with NNTT Objections to the ILUA

What are the grounds that the NNTT will not register the ILUA? What happens if disenchanted Traditional Owners object to the registration by the NNTT?

12. NTSV and VTOLJG TOSB 2010 Process

Why No local and statewide meetings before the Bill is passed?

Why No effective consultation?

Why No written legal advice?

Why bury and hide the legal advice NTSV has paid for from native title funds? Has NTSV mismanaged government funds or breached the lawyer/client rules?

Why gag native title lawyers and their clients?

Why no response and no attendance at the Gathering last Friday after the State, NTSV and VTOLJG/CC were invited?

Why run a gamin’ Information Session last Thursday in Carlton and not tell anyone about it?

Why No free, prior and informed consent?

Why No mandate?

Why No Confidence in NTSV, VTOLJG, VAHC, and AAV?

Where is the Traditional Owner Victoria/Client informed consent and authority for the TOS Bill to be enacted?

Gary Murray
Wamba Wamba Baraparapa Wadi Wadi Native Title Applicant